Historie – Otázky – Problémy

The meaning of the word „national“. Nation as a catchword in the Communist cultural policy


Abstract: In the post WWII period, there were several distinct ways of employing the term „nation“ in the everyday cultural and propaganda activities of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ). Although the definition of national identity was crucial at that time, the often stereotyped meanings of the word were employed in the entirely new post-war context and enriched with the experience of the First Republic, the Protectorate and the war. The article describes how given political strategies were shaped and promoted within the services of the Party. It also attempts to explain who were the key players and the crucial factors which influenced the positions of the Party and in what way they were eventually expressed. Most of these activities were organized and co-ordinated by the Department of culture, propaganda and ideology in the Central Committee of the Party and its commissions. Also, when uncovering the process of propaganda within the KSČ, it is of equal interest and importance to focus on the contents of the propaganda. How should the propagandist activity of that time be interpreted? What information did the Party give to its own members and to the general public? What did it consider as the right line and what arguments did the Party use to defend this line? The essay follows the changes in the building of national identity starting by the definition of nation in space and time through the interpretation of its position in the international context, up to its cultural and historical aspects. It also describes a gradual shift towards creating the „right model“ of behaviour, i.e. inner rules of legitimacy, within the nation itself.

Key words: national identity, cultural policy, propaganda, Department of culture, propaganda and ideology of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia

Mgr. Martina Poliaková je doktorandkou Ústavu českých dějin FF UK v Praze. Zabývá se výzkumem reprezentace národní identity v Československu po druhé světové válce a teoretickými přístupy ke zkoumání identity (martinapoliak@gmail.com).